How To Put Jeep In 4-Wheel Drive – Detailed Guide

How To Put Jeep In 4-Wheel Drive

Jeep is a beast of a car when it comes to off-road drives. Everyone who is an adventurer knows nothing beats the performance of a jeep on bumpy and rough terrains. It would be best to use all its wheels on thrilling trails to make the most of it. This is where most drivers struggle because they have no idea how to put a jeep in a 4-wheel drive.

You don’t have to worry anymore because we have got you covered. Today we will disclose the steps of putting a jeep in a 4-wheel drive and explain each step in detail. So please don’t go anywhere and learn this useful ploy with us.

How To Put Jeep In 4-Wheel Drive

How To Put Jeep In 4-Wheel Drive

Here’s how to shift your jeep from 2 wheels to 4-wheel drive. This setting helps you to drive safely on off-road tracks without the risk of slipping. So if you are going somewhere muddy, sandy, rocky, etc., utilize the following two methods to put your jeep in a 4-wheel drive for the most thrilling experience.

Before you put your vehicle in a 4-wheel drive, you must decide whether to shift your jeep into 4H or 4L. 4H is used when the track is less slippery, whereas 4L is used when you need more traction because of the high chances of slipping.

Method 1

If you are on a road where your jeep needs some traction, you can shift into a 4-wheel drive from the 2-wheel drive. Here’s a stepwise guide on how you will do it.

  • Look to the left of your gear stick. There you will find the jeep’s transfer case shifter lever.
  • It is the same lever drivers use to park, drive, or reverse their cars. This lever has settings that include 2H, 4H, N, and 4L.
  • Your engine should be on to shift your jeep into a 4-wheel drive. So start your car’s engine, leave it in the park, or drive it under 40 mph.
  • All you need to do is pull the shifter lever to 4H and start your journey in 4WD. Don’t forget to cross your speed above 40 mph to shift into 4H while driving. However, if your car is in parking mode, you can shift to 4H immediately.

So many wonder how they will know if their jeep has shifted to a 4-wheel drive? Well, a simple way of knowing this is to check your dashboard. If a 4WD signal is on, your jeep is in 4 wheel drive. What I like the most about this feature of Jeep is that it also allows you to switch to 4 wheel drive while driving. So this feature will ensure your safety when driving in rain or snow.

Important Tips While Shifting to 4H

  • Always remove your foot from the gas before shifting to 4H.
  • Do not accelerate while shifting to 4H.
  • Pressing the clutch while shifting from 2H to 4H is necessary if the jeep has manual controls.

When Should I Use the 4H Mode?

Many people who drive jeeps must consider situations where they need to shift from 2-wheel drive mode to 4-wheel drive. If you also own a jeep, then read the points below.

  • This mode is handy when driving on rainy, icy, or rocky roads. The chances of cars slipping, rolling over, and crashing on such roads are way more than on dry roads. The 4H mode keeps you and your car safe by providing better traction and control without compromising the car’s speed.
  • Please remember that you only want to turn this on when the roads are wet because using it on dry roads will only overheat your vehicle.

Method 2

If your jeep is not parked or moving at high speed, you can follow this method to put your jeep in a 4-wheel drive. Generally, this downward shift provides more power and traction to the car at slower speeds. Here’s how you can pull it off.

  • Ignite your engine and start moving slowly.
  • Remember to keep the speed to 2-3 mph max. If you want to put your jeep in 4 wheel drive low.
  • Once rolling slowly, remove your foot from the gas and shift your car into neutral mode. This step is necessary as it will maintain the slow speed of the car and prevent you from going faster unintentionally.
  • Now pull the shifter lever to 4L. It would be best to do it specifically: pulling the lever down from 2H to 4L without stopping at 4 H and N.
  • Lastly, to check if your jeep has shifted to the top 4L drive, look at your dashboard. If the light before 4L is illuminated, your jeep is now in 4L wheel drive.

Bonus Tips

  • If you have a jeep with manual controls, press the clutch while pulling the shifter lever.
  • Sometimes, when the gas is low, the jeep doesn’t support 4L. In times like this, I would advise you to drive it a little more, shift it to neutral mode and pull the lever to 4L.
  • Always remember to go at most 25 mph in 4L mode.

When to Use 4L Mode

After learning this drive-shifting mode, you must be thinking about when to put your jeep in a 4-wheel drive-low mode, right? Well, here’s the answer. You can put the jeep in 4L wheel drive in the following situations.

  •  On a road demanding more traction and power pulling even at low speed.
  • When driving on a muddy track or climbing a steep rocky hill.

The 4L mode will help you provide exceptional grip and power to the jeep. Plus, 4L mode on such terrains helps you with controls and maneuverability.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I put my Jeep in a 4-wheel drive?

Driving a jeep in 4-wheel drive is only recommended if and when the road is wet and slippery. Using this mode on dry roads destroys wheels and heats the engine.

How do I change my Jeep from 2H to 4H?

To put your jeep in 4H mode from 2H, all you need to do is ignite your car’s engine and put the car in park mode, and pull the shifter lever to 4H. You can also change the driving mode from 2H to 4H while cruising; the only condition is your speed should not be above 40 mph.

Should I use 4H or 4L on my Jeep?

Both 4H and 4L modes have their specific uses. 4L mode is used when the jeep is on icy roads, muddy areas, climbing a hill, or crossing water. 4H is more or less the same as 4L, but in the 4H mode, you don’t have to drive at a tortoise speed. With 4H mode, you can drive up to 55 mph without compromising traction.

What is a 2H 4H 4L Jeep?

These are the driving modes you get in a jeep. 2H is the most commonly used mode for daily commuting; 4H is a special mode that you can use on terrains where you need more traction at normal to high speed, while 4L is a low-driving mode used when you need more control over the car at low speed.

Is it OK to leave the Jeep in 4WD?

Leaving your jeep in 4WD is fine if the roads are icy, wet, or slippery due to rain; however, if there is no such condition as mentioned above, you should not put or keep your jeep in 4WD mode.

Can you shift to 4H while driving a Jeep?

A jeep doesn’t need to be parked to put it in 4H mode. You can do it while driving as well. However, it has a speed limit, i.e., 55-60 mph. Just pull the lever down from 2H to 4H if you are driving a jeep with a speed lower than 55 mph, and your car will shift to 4H mode while driving.


Adventures are very tempting and thrilling, but the safety of the riders is the top concern of jeep manufacturers. This is why jeeps are everyone’s favorite for an adventurous trip. To make your trips and tours more thrilling, the jeep offers several driving modes that you can use on specific terrains. Here’s how you will put the jeep in 4-wheel drive on such tracks.

  • Start your engine, keep the speed below 40 mph, and pull the lever from 2H to 4H.
  • If you are moving at 2 to 3 mph speed, put your jeep in neutral mode first and pull the lever down to 4L.

It is important to shift your jeep from normal driving mode to 4-wheel drive if you are driving it on wet, icy, rocky, or muddy tracks. These driving modes will keep you safe and make your journey trouble-free.  I hope our guide helps you understand how to put a jeep in a 4-wheel drive. Thank you and don’t forget what you learnt today on your thrilling journeys.

Hi! Roy Penny here, a passionate adventurer who has been driving jeeps all his life. My passion for the thrill of off-roading has allowed me to learn what modern-day jeeps have to offer. Exploring the popular trails and seeking thrills in the unexplored terrains allowed me to discover the true intimacy nature had to offer and become an avid learner of Off-roading with Jeeps. Hence, I decided to create this blog to share my experiences of jeep riding and off-roading with the world. My only goal is to provide the readers with quality reliable information about jeeps.